25 10 2012

My French Quest

An American in Paris

Last Friday I felt more American than I have for the past month:  I voted by absentee ballot for President of the United States.  In fact, my heart swelled with pride as I exercised this Constitutional right as an American Citizen.  Most of the headlines here and conversation has been around our election.  The world is watching our Nation and looking to us for leadership.

This past month I have reflected on the main differences between living  in Paris and in the United States and have found four main differences.

The first difference is the weather.  In El Paso, we see about 10 inches a year of precipitation.  In Paris, I have already seen 10 inches (or centimeters) of rain in one month.  In fact, I always have my umbrella with me and wear my rainboots just in case! It is generally overcast here, or soupy, but on those…

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22 10 2012

My French Quest

A Weekend with Monet!

During my Study Abroad semester in Paris, I am trying to take advantage of travel and culture on the weekends  as part of my immersion experience. This past Saturday morning, I decided to take one of my “Impressionist Walks” around the Gare St. Lazare, the area where Monet, Manet, Renoir and Caillebotte lived and painted.  The railway had opened up the world to Parisians and became the symbol of “modernity”during the late 1800’s.  This is one reason you see so many Impressionists painting trains, train stations and bridges. During my walk, I visited 1) Pont de L’Europe the vantage point of Caillebotte, Manet and Monet while painting the Gare St. Lazare 2) the Place de L’Europe a few blocks away which was the inspiration for Caillebotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day 3)  Manet’s studio at rue de Rome where he painted Gare St-Lazare, 4) and one…

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20 10 2012

My French Quest

A Respite in the Pyrenees

Part of any immersion experience when learning a second language is to visit other regions where the language is spoken.  I had the chance to do this last weekend as the students in our program took a trip to Roussillon, southwestern France, in the Pyrenees Mountains.  This part of France at one time belonged to Spain  in the 1400’s during the Aragon-Comte and therefore has a lot of Spanish influence. In fact Catalan (combination of French and Spanish) is still spoken here and many signs around the cities are in both languages.  This area reminds me of the border region of El Paso; even though there are two distinct bordering countries, the cultures have still each retained their autonomy and primary language.

Roussillon is right along the coast of the Mediterranean and has many old fortresses and vineyards dating back to the 5th century. The…

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20 10 2012

My French Quest

A Contrast in Views!

Last week the Director of our Sorbonne Language program told us that during these next four months, we would be facing some of the toughest challenges of our lives and that the key to overcoming these challenges was to realize that we are not in control of our environment anymore and to be flexible!  This was much needed advice considering that I faced a second challenge this week in relocating to a hotel for a few days!

I am now staying in the 13th Arrondisment near the Peripherique (freeway) which is actually a suburb of Paris.  I am seeing a different side of the city now, and probably a more realistic view of the daily life of a Parisian.  In this suburb, one can find gas stations, a three-leveled mall, Chinese and Greek cafés and Pizza places, and high-rise apartment buildings.  Yesterday it rained most…

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20 10 2012

My French Quest

Week two of my Parisian journey began at a non-denominational worship service at the American Church of Paris.  The service was all in English and was followed by a Ministry fair in their fellowship hall.  My heart jumped when I walked into the room and saw a “Moms in Touch” sign.  I immediately signed up for a session on Saturday mornings to pray with other Moms from Paris for our children. I first began meeting with Moms for prayer back when Kalie was in Kindergarten and am still active in a group that meets at FBC El Paso.  This precious group of friends is actually praying for me this semester as I am in Paris.  After church Kalie and I took a stroll down the Champs Elysees, ate at a McDonalds, and met some of her friends from DBU at the Eiffel Tower!

Monday, Kalie and I took a TGV…

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20 10 2012

My French Quest

My Parisian Journey Begins : Week 1, Rouen and Chartres

I am returning to one of my favorite cities in the world to become immersed in its culture.  This first day here was very surreal as I used a skeleton key to open my “appartement” which will be my new home for the next four months in contrast to staying in a hotel for one week as a tourist.  The building is over 200 years old and my room of 10×10 has a definite “Parisian” feel to it: terraced view, wooden floors, a tiny bathroom with bad plumbing, and the sounds of motorcycles and sirens outside!

As I was preparing for bed the first night, I glanced out of my window, over the rooftops of the Latin Quarter, and saw a double rainbow, God’s promise to me that I was in His hands! It was a duplicate of the double rainbow…

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